Navigating into the Unknown: Here be Dragons


In the art of medieval cartography those regions of the globe that had yet to be deciphered were designated terra incognita. That which is over there, on the other side of the ocean, and which begins just where our world ends. There where the mist dictates its inaudible laws.

But, it must be said, the unknown is a kingdom that we have historically (phylogenetically and ontogenetically ) been taught to fear –and even the terra incognita myth was on occasions replaced by hic sunt dracones, assuming that those territories that remained intact were nests of dragons and other monstrous creatures… which were crawling out straight from our most private unconscious. Exploring the unknown is therefore always the fear of finding our known monsters. Or what is even more frightening – to find that our most known monsters are actually creatures of the unknown.

What we do not know presents a challenge, and one that in good measure provides our existence with meaning; it is a call to visualize, to name and to trap that which until that moment we only partially co-existed with. It is the opportunity, par excellence, to grow. The unknown is simply an invitation, but perhaps the most exciting of all: to know something.

Carte de : Olaus Magnus, Carta Marina , Wikimedia Commons.

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